This is the second installation of a series featuring the talented and diverse staff of World Relief Spokane.
Meet Haitham Dawoud, Finance Manager, World Relief Spokane:
“I lived my childhood in Kuwait and returned to Iraq when Kuwait was invaded in 1991. In Kuwait, I attended an American school and grew up speaking English and Arabic all of my life. In Iraq I was threatened and shot at so I didn’t stay. In 2003 when Iraq was liberated I left to work for an American organization in Guinea, West Africa. During that time my family left to Syria to begin the refugee process so I traveled to Syria for just a few short months to be with them. I did not apply to be a refugee because the program then was not established like it is now. During that time, I was contacted by a previous employer from America and asked if I would be interested in working for an American organization in Madagascar. I began working on getting my masters from an American University in Kenya. It was there that I met my wife, also studying Science of Administration and International Development. Within six months we left to China, got married, moved to America in April 2008, and began working for World Relief Spokane in May 2008. I have been working as the Finance Manager ever since.
“My job has many aspects, the government side and the people side. Some days the funding is stable, and sometimes it’s not. Some people come with expectations, usually high ones, and some do not. Many people face a number of cultural issues when they arrive in America and often times find the adjustment difficult. The other side of it is the community aspect. Some communities are accepting of refugees and some are not. The few that are not, often don’t understand refugee resettlement and what it actually means. It is important to be well communicating to the community and well educating to the community at the same time. When a refugee arrives with a hardworking attitude and motivation, that motivation always leads to excellence.”